Tag Archives: mentoring

Kumeyaay College


Tool Time with Stan, Kumeyaay College

This summer my friend and teacher Stan “politely” invited me to attend his tool making class…. 5 times. Tool Time with Stan, he calls it, “get out of the desert, catch some cool air.” I believe he was genuine in his invitation, but he was pretty insistent and I’m pretty sure a request from Stan isn’t really a request. Stan and his wife Martha are a sturdy link between the Kumeyaay crafters & speakers who are divided by the US-Mexico border. When the borderline was drawn, families were cut in half.

The president of the Museum Board and myself dutifully attended Tool Time with Stan at Kumeyaay College and learned how to wo-choo (make) a house by securing cattails to a frame with toe-nap (string). Of course all the of the hunting stick and projectile point making classes happened while I was back East on vacation, but I’ve induced a promise to do a similar program at the museum.


@ the Milkway geoglyph

One of my other very good friends, Steve, says about the trails and geoglyphs, “you have to use them or they become lost – the desert takes them back”. I ponder this often and I try to see the story from their view: Stan, who teaches cultural traditional and language to all, and Steve, who walks the old trails. A message we hear from our friends, and repeat at the museum is, “It’s not about ‘what they did back then.’ We are still here. We do these things today.” This is the most important theme that guides the planning of our first permanent exhibit. It’s a tricky line to walk to focus museum-people on the present and future. It’s new. It’s very exciting.


Steve’s geoglyph tour, Yuha Mesa


Stan @ Obsidian Butte















Basketry Workshop, Kumiai Community Museum, Tecate, Mexico

Invent it. Build it.

So busy I barely had time to snap this photo next to the SciGirls table.

Vannevar Bush reminded us in As We May Think that by working together we overcame the greatest challenges. Collaboration is key and working across fields is how it is accomplished.

I attended the Society of Women Engineers 2012 conference last week. We are beginning to develop our youth programming at the museum and anyone who knows SWE knows that K-12 programming is a high priority. My goal was to interact with as many K-12 resources as possible and interact with the executive leadership. The current members of the Over the Hill Suite have overseen the organization as it developed from an organization that hosted a conference of 2,000 to a conference of 6,400: over doubled in size in 10 years. You have to be able to pick up a few tips from these ladies – accomplished in their own careers and leading this diversity driven organization in their spare time.

This year, I helped organize the vendor expo for the Invent it. Build it. event, an all day hands-on activity event for middle school girls and their parents and educators. The event is held at the location of the conference every year. The vendor expo is the portion of the day that exposes the girls to local engineering based organizations. For instance, FIRST, an annual robot building challenge, brought last year’s creations and challenged the girls to drive a robot, NAVSEA brought mini-submarines and had the girls test the amount of weights it took to counter buoyancy  Instead of having set activities like the rest of the day, at the vendor expo the girls can choose which projects to work. It effectively appealed to their sense of independence. Here’s the local press:


My favorite vendor was SciGirls from PBS. If I can get a local engineer to volunteer to run a project, I’m going to have them film a session at the museum. The representative I talked to listened to the story of the museum with rapt attention. At least we know we’ve caught their ear.

Anne’s intro

We toured Ocotillo for the first time. Again. I’ve been without a car for months, but with new comers to consider at the trailer, the powers that be have been granted us the museum vehicle. It doesn’t have air conditioning and the brakes are beginning their warning squeak, but that’s as much endearing as a nuisance. After all, it roles faster than I can walk. The ride around town was as refreshing for me as it was new for Anne. The local cactus guru was out tending his garden and he gave a quick desert intro – don’t touch those, those have good fruit, those have flowers that smell like heaven.

Now well prepared (and even if she wasn’t), we headed out into the desert.

I’m engaged in a mini-battle of the Big Year with one of the Director’s sons, so I have to keep my documented proof:

Peregrine Falcon. Beat that, Lucas (who lives in the big town).

Across the street, what we once toured as open desert is now under construction:

The only constant is change.


Intern Program Begins

We picked up our new staff member and our board member insisted we make a small pit stop so that I could see La Jolla Cove. We stopped at the Children’s Pool, a protected cove where the kids and the seals play together on the beach.




Anne has arrived to complete a project to survey the museum archive and establish system by which the papers are digitally linked to the artifact collection through the Past Perfect database. Anne is a recent graduate of Simmons and was at the SAA conference looking for the next step. You can’t get work like this many other places, I told her, you’d better come on out.

One of my goals here is to give professional opportunities that interns can’t receive anywhere else. I want to help them develop programs that showcase their skills. I want them to be able to package themselves so that when they move on to the next place, they can excel. I want them to interact with the youth of the Valley and provide examples for what can be accomplished if you are willing to take a risk.

Anne is the first of 3 interns we plan on hosting in the next few months. Soon we will travel around the region collecting artists’ work as stock for the giftshop and begin creating displays to promote their local galleries and art. Our programming is kicking off again starting with a continuation of the Sundance Festival’s Film Forward program and a massive curation day in celebration of National Museum Day. October will see an art opening and a photography class. We are working to make the museum a place people are comfortable to visit. We are working to make people feel what we do – that this is the most fun museum ever.